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Dominic P. Prianti

  • Assistant Professor
    Philosophy Department
  • Assistant Professor
    Honors Program

Hello! 

I am an Assistant Teaching Professor at Gannon University, having a blast teaching philosophy classes to my students. I moved here in 2009 with my wife Jessica Hartnett, due to her being hired here as a Psychology/ Applied Stats professor. We met in graduate school back in DeKalb, Illinois, although all who know me can tell pretty quickly that I am originally from the East Coast. I was also a certified mathematics teacher, and have done a bunch of other things (as you can see some of the other jobs below). I love to work, but teaching philosophy is both work and play for me. You'll witness my enthusiasm in my classes, I'm sure. 

Why do I love philosophy? Well, I've been immersed in the subject since such a young age that it simply isn't a question that I could answer sufficiently. There's no doubt that a resourceful use of philosophy would be my ikigai. It probably started with a bit of a rebel nature, as well as a dissatisfaction with appeals to authority and obsessions with "why" questions, all at a very young age. Pursuing the world with a philiosophical edge was an experience like "waking up" to me--a transformational one that I never left.

I like to think of philosophy as examined living on steroids. Philosophy offers the foundations of critical thinking in logic, and seeks justified belief and virtue attainment in matters of knowledge, ethics, meaning in life, and those important metaphysical questions about the soul, God, etc. I find the ethical side to being a philosopher quite important--living the philosophical life uncompromisingly ("the unexamined life is not worth living"), and seeking "the good life" over the merely pleasurable, powerful, or popular life. My interests spread to applied examined living (especially to serious issues for today), Eastern philosophy (particularly Confucianism and Buddhism), and also into how contemporary scientific discoveries can enrich good philosophy and filter out mistaken views. In all of my interests, the concept, justification, and cultivation of virtue seems to stand out. I am currently writing a book introducing the examined life to new readers, although it is taking far too long to complete with my other obligations.

Although i'm a highly introverted guy, a really dig teaching philosophy. I get to share everything that intersects my interests and relevant philosophy for students, and sprinkle the insights I've gathered along the way in my own humble quest for wisdom. In the teaching experience, I get to spread the joy and intrinsic motivation that comes along with grasping insights, or at least new tensions between insights. I also get to help facilitate critical thought about the all-important things in life, and watch so many bright minds at work, even if the process of examined living isn't exactly a comfortable one. Also, I can ALWAYS grow as an instructor, and I'm constantly modifying my classes and looking to develop more classes. Just this past summer ('19) I attended two more workshops to further contemporize my teaching methods. Also, one thing I've come to appreciate is that learning subjects that we are interested in for the sake of teaching the material might be the BEST experience for true lifelong learners. If you are a lifelong learner, I suggest giving teaching and leadership of some form a shot. No joke.

Other things I enjoy:

  • I love writing. When I can pick it back up, I have so many seedlings waiting for water. I was working on a book quite a bit this previous year, but have put it on hold.
  • Chilling out with my two little boys. As I update this, one of my boys are 3 and the other just turned 7. They are pretty awesome. You'll hear far too much about my sons in class. We play a lot of video games and do general fun stuff together.
  • Running. It's one of those deep joys only runners understand. I keep hanging it up after a leg injury, only to find myself back doing it a month later. I also do A LOT of walking, whether reading (or listening to books--the safer option!), thinking through class lectures, or even walking meditation. I love that my Fitbit allows me to challenge myself to 100,000 steps a week. Become my friend on Fitbit to keep my butt in gear.
  • I listen to early-90s hard rock and metal, as well as progressive rock. I love having my music in the background of my activities or simply sitting back for a meditative listen to my turntable. Alice in Chains has been my favorite band for far too long, especially when Layne Staley was alive. I still remember having my hair in dreadlocks and wearing an Alice in Chains Rooster shirt a long, long time ago as a 12 or 13 year-old (either 1993 or 1994). I also like chilling to really mellow instrumental music when either meditating or focusing deeply on my work.
  • Of course I'm always buried in philosophy texts, and I write reviews for CHOICE and direct publishers. I read quite a lot, although like everything else it is hard to make the time for it. I've actually become quite adept at walking while reading, and hopefully I won't walk into you on the third floor of Palumbo. I use Audible for most of my reading, so that I could do house chores and exercise while getting a good read in--my eyes and hands are still available with audiobooks.
  • I'm a big-time New York Mets fan. If you ever want to sidetrack me, bring them up. I'll most likely get miserable, too, although they are winning a lot lately and might make the wild card in 2019.
  • As far as television is concerned, I think I'm falling too far behind you all, minus kid shows. I seriously can't make the time for television right now, but I do bury myself in horror movies and some of my favorite series when I'm sick. If I can't sleep at night, Family Guy is my go-to show. I'm very easily amused with all forms of comedy--even slapstick.

Come take one of my classes and have a blast with me! I have a pretty good reputation of making what you might call "dry" material pretty fun, and I don't think you'll find somebody who loves their subject-matter more than I do!

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Philosophy (far too many sections to count)
  • Critical Thinking (2 sections; course is becoming permanent soon)
  • Philosophy of Knowledge (5 sections)
  • Logic (15 sections)
  • Ethics (4 online sections, 3 live sections)
  • Comparative World Philosophy (8 sections)
  • Virtue Ethics (2 sections: independent study and senior seminar)
  • Contemporary Moral Issues (2 sections--Edinboro University)
  • Philosophy & Psychology (1 section, co-taught with my wife)
  • Happiness and Philosophy (non-academic course for Jefferson Educational Society)
  • Modern Philosophy (another non-academic course for JES)

I'm hoping to also make an "Environmental Ethics" course in the next year.

Educational History

  • University of Illinois at Springfield, Secondary Mathematics Teaching Certification, 2010
  • Northern Illinois University, M.A. Philosophy, 2009
  • Stony Brook University, B.A. Philosophy, 2003
  • Suffolk County Community College, A.A.S. Mathematics, 2000

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Teaching Professor, Philosophy, Gannon University, Erie, PA (Since August 2010)
  • Instructional Leader, Mathematics, GO-College, Erie, PA (December 2012-January 2014)
  • Temporary Adjunct Lecturer, Philosophy, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA (Spring 2012)
  • Teacher, Philosophy, Jefferson Educational Society, Erie, PA (I taught a couple of classes)
  • Teacher, Reading & Study Skills, Institute of Reading Development, Novato, CA (2011)
  • Emergency Substitute Teacher, Erie School District & Harborcreek School District, Erie, PA (2009-2011)
  • Permanent, Full-time Substitute Teacher, Hiawatha High School, Kirkland, IL (2006-2009)
  • Foreman, All Out There Yard Services, Mastic, NY (1995-2004)
  • Casual Garageman, United States Postal Service, Melville, NY (1998-2000)
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